Department of Emergency Medicine Click here for the Department of Emergency Medicine Home Page Click here for the UC Irvine Home Page Click here for the School of Medicine Home Page

Clerkship Course Description

The Emergency Medicine core rotation is designed to introduce students to the principles of acute care medicine. Students have the opportunity to evaluate patients as well as formulate effective testing and treatment strategies. Active participation in patient care and procedural skills are emphasized. The course consists of experiences in patient care, assigned readings from emergency medicine references, weekly conferences and a final exam at the end of the rotation. Detailed information and schedules can be viewed at the Clerkship website.

Course Director
Wirachin Hoonpongsimanont, MD

Course Coordinator
Jessica Holland

Instructing Faculty

All faculty members in the Department of Emergency Medicine provide 24 hour teaching and supervision of medical students.

Applications »

To apply for an externship position, please log onto the Visiting Students Application Service (VSAS). If your school does not participate in VSAS, unfortunately we are unable to accommodate you at this time.

Our Emergency Medicine rotation is in high demand at the beginning of the academic year (May to November). We encourage you to contact us at least three (3) months prior to your preferred start date because our clerkship tends to fill up far in advance.

Please do not hesitate to contact our coordinator, Jessica Holland (, at any time for possible openings due to cancellations. Please note that between May and November, we generally only accept students who are planning to apply to our emergency medicine residency program. 

To apply:

U.S. Applicants

  • Apply to the UC Irvine School of Medicine's Student Affairs office using the AAMC's VSAS. 
  • Students who wish to rotate between May and October must email our clerkship coordinator, Jessica Holland ( and cc: Dr. Hoon ( with the following information:
    • Your top three preferred start dates (in order of preference). 
    • Your curriculum vitae, including your USMLE Step 1 score and Core Clerkship grades.
    • The name and email address of your EM faculty advisor/mentor, or a faculty mentor who knows your career choice and can verify your goals and plans.

International Applicants

International students must be enrolled in a medical school that has a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the UC Irvine School of Medicine. Send your application to Thasin Sultan (, our curricular affairs coordinator.

Objectives »

Students learn to conduct thorough but directed histories and physicals, as well as to formulate a plan for workup and care of each patient they see.

Procedural skills, such as suturing, paracentesis etc., are taught and supervised on a case-by-case base as needed, depending on the patient’s complaints and need for evaluation.

All students are expected to introduce themselves as student physicians and to conduct themselves in a professional manner. These expectations are set out at student orientation.

By the fourth year of school, students already should be meeting these expectations. Students interact one-on-one with residents and faculty members who monitor their progress during each shift.

Key skills:

  • Take a directed patient history and perform a complete physical examination
  • Formulate plan of workup and treatment
  • Present cases directly to the senior resident and attending physicians
  • Learn techniques to improve suturing skills
  • Follow patients from initial exam through discharge from the emergency department


  • The ability to competently conduct a medical interview and counseling to take into account patient health beliefs, patient agenda and the need for comprehensive medical and psychosocial assessment
  • The ability to competently perform a complete and organ-system-specific examination including a mental health status examination
  • The ability to articulate a cogent, accurate assessment and plan, and problem list, using diagnostic clinical reasoning skills in all the major disciplines
  • The ability to search the medical literature, including electronic databases, and to locate and interpret up-to-date evidence to optimize patient care
  • The ability to practice effective preventive medicine by identifying, addressing and advocating for strategies to maintain health and wellbeing, to identify and treat disease early where appropriate and to advise on lifestyle practices
  • The ability to function effectively within the context of complexity and uncertainty in medical care
Attitudes and commitments:
  • Honesty and integrity reflecting the standards of the profession, in interacting with ul colleagues, patients, families and professional organizations
  • Professional behaviors reflecting compassion and respect for patient privacy, altruism and a commitment to comprehensive, holistic medical care
  • Sensitivity and awareness of diverse cultures, health beliefs and social factors impacting patient health and illness
  • The commitment to seek knowledge and skills to better serve the needs of the underserved in their communities

Content Theme Integration

  • Communication
  • Decision-making
  • Ethics
  • Family violence/abuse
  • Geriatrics
  • Healthcare systems
  • Pain management
  • Patient health education
  • Preventive and health maintenance
  • Substance abuse

Educational Activities

  • Orientation
  • Art and medicine class
  • Hand hygiene and fall prevention videos
  • Conference
  • Simulation lab
  • Medical student lectures/flipped classroom
  • Journal Club
  • iTunes Summarized Pearls
  • Google Glass patient encounter
  • NBME exam (630D students only)
  • Acute care patient management
Scheduling »

Students on rotations with direct patient care, such as emergency medicine, work the exact schedule the team works. Therefore, anyone who does not want to be on call the night before a specific holiday, or on a specific holiday, should make sure to not schedule an emergency medicine rotation during that time. Please note that vouchers for days off are not valid for EM rotations.

About a week berfore the start of rotation, clerkship students receive an email from the medical student clerkship coordinator detailing their schedules.
Shift swaps are allowed if both parties approve. The swap request must be e-mailed to the director and coordinator at least two days in advance and is subject to approval.  

If a conflict occurs midway through a scheduled rotation, shifts can be swapped with another student. But the change must be made on the schedule. The R3 and attendings have access to this schedule from any computer and expect the students to adhere to this.

Rotations »

Clerkship students are expected to familiarize themselves with the CANVAS website, orientation packet and course syllabus. Orientation is held on the first Monday of the rotation at 8 a.m., followed immediately after by Art of Medicine.

On your first day: Check your schedule and report to R3 or the attending physician in the Emergency Department. Always write your name on the ED computer grease board and that of the R3 you are working with under the “Resident” column.

On-shift Activities/Workflow: Log into Quest and assign yourself the patient with the red-boxed column. Type your name in medical student column when you initially pick up the patient note the vital signs. Inform the R3 or attending before seeing the patient.

IMPORTANT: If at any point you identify an unstable patient, either from the board or at the bedside, immediately notify the R3 or attending.

Please introduce yourself to the patient as a fourth-year medical student. Always address your history and physical so that it is focused on the patient’s chief complaint. After completing the initial assessment of your patient, discuss the case with the R3 to formulate a plan; then you can inform the nurse assigned to the patient of this plan. Do not order tests or administer medications without first discussing the plan with the R3 or the attending. If at any time you feel that a patient is very sick, or you do not feel comfortable managing a patient, please let the R3 or attending know right away.

Reassess your patient periodically and give updates on care frequently. Note any change in your patient's condition and inform your R3 immediately. You should not take on more than two acute ongoing patients at a time, unless approved by the R3 or attending.

If any consultants are called, note the name of the consultant, their department, beeper number and the time they were called. You are expected to consult the other specialties or perform the hand-off of patients to admitting team.

End of Shift: It is your responsibility to ensure you allocate time to complete all work-up with your patients and ensure a final disposition (admit, discharge, transfer, etc.) has been made. Log all cases and procedures at the end of each shift. When appropriate, the R3 or attending will indicate when you may leave.

Shift attendance: Before you miss a shift for medical reasons please call the senior resident on duty at 714-456-5705. All absences will be documented and grades will be withheld until the absence is made up. 

Schedule changes: As mentioned above, students may exchange shifts with peers. However, please keep the following in mind when considering schedule changes:

  • Student lectures require attendance by students.
  • Students cannot take more than one shift a day and cannot follow an evening shift with a morning shift.
  • Shift change requests need to be e-mailed to the clerkship coordinator and are subject to approval. 

Patient Sign-Outs: Patient sign outs from the medical student go directly to the R3 and not to the incoming student.

Journal Club »

Journal Club is usually held on the third Thursday of each month from 6 to 10 p.m. Attendance is encouraged for all students.

The location varies and is usually held at the house of an ED attending or resident. You are excused from your shift to attend Journal Club, but must return to your shift as soon as it has ended.

If you are interested in attending please RSVP, so the clerkship coordinator can prepare a packet of articles to read. You will need to have read the articles prior to attending Journal Club. 

EM Conference and Simulation Center »

Emergency Medicine residents hold their academic conference at the City Tower or the Simulation Center. You will be notified of where and when conference and simulation center will be held.

Attendance is mandatory from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Breakfast is provided. 

Medical Student Lectures: The Flipped Classroom  »

A special medical student lecture, the "Flipped Classroom," will be given immediately after Conference/Sim Center, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

During the “classroom,” clerkship students have a case discussion with an EM faculty member.

Here is a weekly summary of course hours:

Hours Activity
4 Conference
2 Lecture
4 Simulation
36 Patient Care Activities
46 Total